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Poster: MrMovie Date: May 27, 2005 4:30am
Forum: prelinger Subject: A Commentary on PD Films

Most people are aware that PD products have been around for decades. Way back in the 1960s long before I got into the production business, I collected many, many PD films on 16mm. One of the many sources for these films was a company called NATIONAL CINEMA SERVICE in NYC. I believe they are long gone. Another outlet was OFFICIAL FILMS and if memory serves me right, I think they were located in New Jersey. Over on the Universal Newreel Board I prompted a discussion about the various studios who made and released newreels thoughtout the years. Rick has already said that most of the Fox Movietone Newsreels are NOT PD and someone else said that the Paramount Newsreels are copyrighted and that they sell clips at the rate of $50.00 per second. I wouldn't doubt it or put it past them. However, there must be some of them that slipped past the copyright renewal process since I've seen these show up in various places including in between features on TCM. I doubted that Time Warner paid an arm and a leg to show those newsreels. Because of my relationship with the motion picture industry I know that TCM also has a lot of PD features in their library including many, many of those 'one reel wonders' since those went virtually undiscovered prior to Ted Turner's purchase of the MGM library. When MGM (Studio) was in the final months of its demise many of those old short subjects had been lying around in an abandond salt mine and more likely than not the copyrights on many of them had expired. The question I posed, which addressed the isssue of doing a search to find out what is and what isn't PD led to a comment that the insurance company's normally do those searches when someone is making a documentary and intends to use various clips in order to assure that they are either PD or that the proper payment is made for the use of those products. This I know from being in the business. What I had intoned in my response to my original post was that there are probably 2000+ Paramount Newsreels, and equally as many, if not more MGM shorts and that it would obviously take someone with a lot of time on their hands to research every single one of them in order to find out which are PD and which are not. I'm a little surprised that someone has not come up with a compendium of PD films even though I am sure it would be volumes and not just one book. Then there are the people who actually make a living by hoarding PD products. For example, every last episode of the 1950s STAR PERFORMANCE aka STAR AND THE STORY is in the PD. Official Films used to sell the 16mm prints of those to anyone who wanted to buy them for as little as $12.00 per reel. The person who has those today want's $100.00 per episode and there are over 120 of them. Same goes for other classic TV Shows such as WIRE SERVICE and SCHLITZ PLAYHOUSE to name a few (which were available in the 1960s & 70s to the public from Official Films) which is probably why none of those are available here in the archive. As a matter of fact, there are no 1950s classic TV shows here in the archive. At least none that I have stumbled across. I could give you the website of the company that is hording these products and selling them for ridiculous sums of money, but I don't think I should post it here. I questioned WHO he could be possibly selling these to, and WHY anyone would pay that much money per episode for those products. I've personally spoken to the owner of this particular company and he claims that he sells these to various cable channels. I told him that I think he is selling them in his dreams because I've never seen them show up on any cable channel let alone I doubted any cable channel would pay him his ridiculous price per episode. What Rick has here is truly a gift and we should all be thankful that we can view this remarkable collection without having to shell out $100.00+ per title to do so.

This post was modified by MrMovie on 2005-05-27 11:30:23

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Poster: Visual16 Date: May 26, 2005 12:14am
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: A Commentary on PD Films

Amen! Not only are there no fees to watch or use the films, I can't believe how expensive the internet bandwidth must cost, too! For what it's worth, these films have become my staple entertainment and a great source of learning..I really wonder how many people know how great they look on a television set from DVD..It looks exactly like another channel on cable. This site puts every other country in the world to shame in terms of their vision of "multimedia"! ..The single post of Expo '67 in the newsreels section actually surpasses everything filmwise the entire nation of Canada has to offer with regards to their own World's Fair! Believe me, we do notice.